"It's an important part of our business but it's also an important part of our marketing plan," Dennis notes. - D.H.
There's an expression that comes up a lot at Idaho Camera: "If
you take good care of the customer, they'll take good care of you."
And at Idaho it's no joke. In fact, it's all business.
"It's the most important thing that we do," Pat says. "There just isn't any other way for us."
Of course the key to offering good help to your customers is by keeping good help on your staff. And Idaho Camera has a reputation for keeping good staff members around for a long while.
"Our customers really like seeing a familiar face and with our sales staff averaging eight years, they see a lot of familiar faces here," Dennis says.
One manager at Idaho has been on staff for over 40 years, while several others have been working at Idaho for 15 plus, Pat adds.
While some stores look for good salesman when they're hiring staff, Idaho looks for people who have a strong interest in photography. "We believe it's the most important thing. You can learn the rest," Dennis stresses.
Once a new employee is hired, they go through PMA's "Quick Start program" to get them prepped in the fundamentals and then are trained in every aspect of the store.
"The training starts from the top down," Pat says. "It begins from us and then with the people who have been with us for a long time. It's just expected that our staff will have good customer service skills."
To provide incentive to its employees, Idaho Camera also offers a unique profit sharing program.
"Because we put so much emphasis on our staff, we naturally have to give all the credit to them for our success," Dennis notes. - D.H.
Idaho Camera offers so many photography classes during the year,
it sometimes resembles more of a photo school than a store. But
according to Pat and Dennis Nagel, that's the secret of Idaho's
"The classes are a huge part of the big picture for us," Pat says. "Most importantly, we're not in the class to sell them something, we're there to help them be successful in taking better pictures. Then when the time comes and they're looking for another photo product, we come to mind."
Classes are taught in a room at the Orchard Avenue store that doubles as a site for staff training. Sessions are held from 7 to 9 p.m. all year long except December. Typically 25 to 30 students are taught at a time and the classes fill up pretty quickly, especially after the holidays when everyone is trying to figure out their new cameras.